Syberia 3 is the third game in the series, with the first two coming out back in the days of the PS2. Now, I was a PS2 player for most of my younger years, but I never came across either of these previous two games. Syberia 3 was meant to be released on the PS3 in 2009, but had some funding issues. Fast forward to 2017 and we finally have the product – the only problem is that some of the areas of this game definitely feel more like a 2009 release.
Syberia is an adventure game similar to Broken Sword, but without the point and click elements. It’s a game where you need to uncover mysteries and solve puzzles, and it’ll give you the choice whether you want to have hints on or off – clearly, I went for ON.
The story follows on from the previous entries and sees protagonist (Kate Walker, an American Lawyer) involved with some sort of tribe called the Youkol. Kate ends up in a hospital where some real strange things are happening and you end up on an adventure to help the Youkol people, whilst evading the feds from home, as well as a mysterious agent from the military. Fans from the previous games will rave on about how fantastic the stories have been in the Syberia series, although, if you are a new player you will find yourself a little out of the loop.
Areas of this game really stand out, the most striking being the soundtrack. As soon as you switch this on, you’ll be impressed with a progressive soundtrack, perfectly suiting the images you are seeing. As I continued to play, I have to note the music on offer – it immerses you wonderfully into the story and supports the drama perfectly. Even the menu button sounds feel correct – quite often you find yourself getting annoyed with those in a game, but not in this case.
Unfortunately for Syberia 3, music and menu sounds aren’t the only area I review and I must also look at voicing – this area, they clearly haven’t spent as much time on. Kate Walker is an American from New York, yet sounds like she is from London. During my time of playing this, I’m also pretty sure she is voiced by about four different people as her voice keeps on changing. There are other characters who are voiced just as badly and this will frustrate you. I must admit I am not very good at picking up accents but, God Damn… some of these ones were definitely made up! What they should have done is get Kate to be voiced by the same actress who voices Lara Croft, because they pretty much look like the same person.
(DVDfever Dom adds: To date, nine actresses have voiced Lara Croft in English over the years – although two were Charlotte Sparey as a young Lara in Tomb Raider Legend, and Harriet Perring in the same position for Rise of the Tomb Raider, but yes, never within the same game at the same timeframe. In addition, Yuko Kaida has provided her Japanese voice since 2013)
Equally poor is the lip-sync throughout the game. I recently reviewed Mass Effect Andromeda which had some bad timing problems, but those have since been patched. Syberia’s issues are little more than just some bad timing. There were a couple of points when I was playing and thought that the voice I was hearing must have been that of a narrator, and not actually what the character was saying. I wouldn’t expect this to be an easy fix as well – it’s not that the sync is just out, but more that the character animations are saying completely different things. There is a time, early in the game, where Kurk is speaking, yet instead of his mouth moving, it looks like he is gurning. Reminded me of a night out in Manchester! As well as all the sync issues, there are times when the talking just seems to cut out. Not being a AAA game, I am unsure whether any of these issues will get sorted.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game.
When it comes to graphics, Syberia 3 reminds me more like a PS3 game rather than PS4. With the Broken Sword series, developers were clever in using a cartoon style. Here, realism sits at the heart of the series. Facially, Kate Walker looks quite good until you see all the glitchy white lines appear in every corner of your screen. In addition, she very much resembles Lara Croft. The problem is… graphics are quite important in this game because of its nature. It isn’t a fast-paced game where it is all about the action; Syberia 3 is slow-paced, looking to dazzle you with graphics, story and sound.
Walking around the mental asylum/hospital, you’ll find yourself incredibly disappointed. The best way to explain the graphics are “unpolished”. Don’t get me wrong, they are not shocking but they just seem full of glitches and are unfinished. The more I played, the more I decided they weren’t quite as bad as I initially thought. Some of the backgrounds look quite real and although you’ll often find yourself surrounded by snow and in a screen of white, you do feel like you could well be in Syberia. That’s if you look like Kate Walker (which is something I wish I did…)
Gameplay is an area of upmost importance with adventure games. This is the first type I have played a puzzle adventure without a mouse to and point and click. I found this quite frustrating at times because the controls felt a little clunky. As you are trying to control Kate, to get her around a plant pot, you’ll find yourself bumping into it a number of times like a stumbling drunk. This isn’t helped by the stuttering nature of the game, and without having the technical ability to actually tell whether the frame rate is dropping, or if the game is just running off a poor engine, I have to say that either way, it is a poor show. As I have previously mentioned, the graphics aren’t particularly, great nor is there much happening at the same time, so why on earth does the game suffer from frame-rate drops? This also seems to happen on the cut scenes as well. The more I played of it, the more it started to bug me.
Throughout, you’ll find yourself coming to battle with a range of little puzzles and things to find. As explained earlier, I played this game in the normal setting with hints switched on. This definitely helped, but I didn’t feel the difficulty of any of the challenges were too much that I wouldn’t have figured them out given enough time. I’m not an expert at this type of game, so I assume some of the more accustomed gamers will decide that this game doesn’t offer the right intensity of challenge.
Whether I have enjoyed playing this game so far is an interesting question. Even though I haven’t quite completed it yet, I have decided to continue. That must mean that I have definitely enjoyed the journey. What must be said, however, is the amount of annoyances it will obviously throw in your face. Yes, the graphics aren’t great, the gameplay is frustrating and the sound is completely mixed – with a fantastic sound track and horrendous voice acting. Saying all of this, Syberia offers you something that I haven’t been given in a game for a very long time – I found myself playing it alongside Persona 5 and Horizon Zero Dawn and deciding to play it just as much as the other two titles. Don’t get me wrong, Syberia 3 is miles behind both of these games but due to its niche genre and intriguing story I found myself wanting to play it.
Syberia 3 is no ten out of ten, nor is it another ‘Turtles‘ (still the worst PS4 game I have ever played). What it is, is a game full of faults, a game which feels unfinished but a game that still has something about it. They only took 8 years to make it, and I would love to have seen the final product if they took a few years to spit and wax and make this third entry gleam. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want a nice chilled adventure which doesn’t tax you too much but envelopes you deep inside an interesting story then Syberia 3 could well be the game for you.
- Publisher: pqube
- Players: single-player
- HDTV options: up to 1080p
- Sound: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Writer: Benoît Sokal
Kate Walker: Sharon Mann
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.
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